Books: Up Tunes GERSHWIN

by Edward Jablonski Doubleday; 436 pages; $21.95

What if George Gershwin had lived longer? He saw his first hit song, Swanee, sell more than a million copies, wrote for Broadway and symphony orchestras and performed Rhapsody in Blue to the applause of Rachmaninoff and Stokowski, all before his 30th birthday. He was planning further classical compositions when he died of a brain tumor at the age of 38 in 1937. Would Gershwin's later music have made its way into the standard American repertory along with the works of Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber? Or would he have been considered an overreacher whose notes never quite shook off the...

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